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In a book that has been raising hackles far and wide, the social critic Thomas Frank skewers one of the most sacred cows of the go-go '90s: the idea that the new free-market economy is good for everyone. Frank's target is "market populism"--the widely held belief that markets are a more democratic form of organization than democratically elected governments. Refuting the iIn a book that has been raising hackles far and wide, the social critic Thomas Frank skewers one of the most sacred cows of the go-go '90s: the idea that the new free-market economy is good for everyone. Frank's target is "market populism"--the widely held belief that markets are a more democratic form of organization than democratically elected governments. Refuting the idea that billionaire CEOs are looking out for the interests of the little guy, he argues that "the great euphoria of the late nineties was never as much about the return of good times as it was the giddy triumph of one America over another." Frank is a latter-day Mencken, as readers of his journal The Baffler and his book The Conquest of Cool know. With incisive analysis, passionate advocacy, and razor-sharp wit, he asks where we?re headed-and whether we're going to like it when we get there....

Title : One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy
Author :
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ISBN : 9780385495042
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy Reviews

  • Szplug
    2019-04-30 02:16

    It took me three tries to make it all the way through to the end of this sucker—it's of that lick'em-and-stick'em lunge-and-thrust apt to appeal more to the younger members of the cinched-lip smirkers, and I read it in my mid-thirties when weariness was settling into my bones to stay—for this sophomore effort from Thomas Frank has its faults: too repetitive, at times too trite and, at others, too simplified, and Frank strains too hard now and again in playing for those crowds he knows will be lapping this kind of slick shit up; but otherwise a cooly enthused and merciless evisceration of the Cult of the Market—one based upon the delusion that everybody could be an entrepreneur, make their mark, be a paper millionaire, a Davos debutante, if only that goddamn government would leave them alone! which was primed by itchy elites and fostered by the unleashing of a billion clicking mice and clattering keyboards—that was undoubtedly on order back in those halcyon swoosh logo days of the dawning of the new millennium ere Enron queasied the technocultural gut and Osama bin Laden became a game-changer.

  • Aaron
    2019-05-15 08:22

    Frank's book is a study of the pro-business, pro-"free-market", new-economy-and-stock-market-worshipping rhetoric of the 1990s. It was written in 2000. The overall theme of the book is that in the 1990s, business and its friends in the media made a renewed push to claim that they were for the little guy, that they were against elitism, that they were in favor of breaking up hierarchy wherever it existed. Ads and editorials gushed that now that everyone owned stocks, and everyone was an entrepreneur, old-economy constructs like labor unions and government regulation were no longer necessary. Some of the funniest parts of the book discuss the lunacy that is management theory and the management consulting industry-- cultish guru-worship at its worst, led by charlatans, in service of power and profit, but dressed up as intellectual and even spiritual advice. Of course, this kind of thing has been going on for a long time in the U.S.-- if this country is about anything, it's about making lots of money by teaching people the secret to a good life (see Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey, etc, etc). Long before that, the U.S. has always been a haven for religious nuts and their (sometimes deluded) followers.* As for criticism of management consultants, they've got that covered too: Frank notes a common conceit of management consultants is to claim that all other management gurus (or even they, at earlier stages) are frauds, but they are the real thing. Another wonderful (and scary) section of the book is its depiction of a conference of young PR industry hipsters, who seem to think that designing a brand is a revolutionary act. This section stands besides the better sections of Naomi Klein's book No Logo, in describing the grandiose, culture-altering importance that the PR industry and business intellectuals give to The Brand.You'd think that a book with rhetoric as one of its main themes would be written in ghastly postmodernist jargon. But you'd be wrong. Frank harshly criticizes "cult studs" (cultural studies theorists) of the 1990s for focusing their attention on inane analyses of "sites of subversion" within pop culture and within miniscule subcultures, rather than on the massive demolition by business of New Deal-era and Progressive-era ideals of social democracy and collective action. He notes that cult studs have often been willing participants in the 90s-era transformation of consumption into a liberating act and "the market" into the world's main (or only) democratic arena-- this dovetails beautifully with the goals of the PR industry and editorialists like Thomas Friedman. Although they make much noise about fighting the "demon" religious right in the political correctness wars (and thus give hipster/outsider cred to some management theorists and new economy libertarians who subscribe to their theories), they have astonishing blind spots.** Thomas quotes media critic Robert McChesney (p. 291):"Perhaps the stupidity-- and there is no better word for it-- of some cultural studies is best shown by its stance towards the market. I have heard leading figures in cultural studies argue that the market is not the top-down authoritarian mechanism that political economists claim, where bosses force the massed to swallow whatever they are fed. To the contrary, they exult, the market is where the masses can contest with the bosses over economic matters; it is a fight without a predetermined outcome. One cultural studies scholar goes so far as to characterize the market as 'an expansive popular system'."Frank's weaknesses stem in part from the timing of the book, and in part from the goal of his book. Since the book was written in 2000, and was focused on the overheated internet/New Economy rhetoric of the 1990s, Frank misses the fact that IT can be fruitfully used to help social movements. He uses "internet" almost as a dirty word. Of course, it nearly impossible to use the internet 100% ethically, without supporting corporations that deny workers' rights for collective representation (hello Microsoft), that lobby for monopolistic and civil-liberties-destroying laws (hello Verizon, AT&T, Microsoft), and that benefit from huge privatization giveaways (hello Google/M-Books). But there's no easy way to lead an ethical life, online or offline. Of course, one could argue that court decisions and legislation over the past 15 years has molded the internet into a place where you can't click a link or view a web page without giving money to a huge corporation. That would lead one to support the Free Open Source Software movement, in so far as it is possible. As with environmental issues****, I think it's a waste of time to become an individual purist. Much better and more effective to advocate for societal change that will make it easier for everyone to use alternatives to huge corporations, or reform the worst aspects of those corporations.* Yes, yes, I know, the alternative of no religious freedom is much, much worse. Of course, the American ideal of religious freedom is a great ideal, and the "religious nuts" sometimes have good ideas that use the best part of their own systems of ethics.** Frank acknowledges that these blind spots, and cult studs' entire outlook, are in part an overreaction to charges of economism levelled against the Left. He also notes that a large part of the standard cult studs argument is derived from sociologist Herbert Gans' criticism of the Frankfurt School for the latter's "elitist" critique of mass culture, though this is rarely acknowledged by cult studs (p. 279-80). **** As in, rather than hectoring working class people for driving too much, support public transportation, give incentives to make it easier-to-use/cheaper, etc.Cross-posting from my blog.

  • Bob
    2019-05-20 04:27

    Frank's second book covers the stock market rise of the 90s, the first dot com boom and the popular intellectual climate in which it all thrived, which he dubs "market populism." The phrase epitomizes the stance of everyone from the "gurus" of business writing, elected representatives, and the advertisements of the stodgiest companies, repositioning themselves as "revolutionary", all of which can be summarized as "a completely unfettered free market is the only true source of democracy."The book is long with each chapter is focused on a specific manifestation of the reigning paradigm: the loss of power of traditional labor unions being replaced with "Brand You" (i.e., no employment security, benefits or pensions); the biggest wave since the 1920s of certainty that anyone could invest in the stock market and get rich; the unbelievable nonsense that crowded (and continues to crowd) bookstore shelves, everything from "Seven Habits…" to the autobiographies of various captains of industry, to the more theoretical likes of Jaron Lanier, and so on. He gives relevant historical overviews as needed and, while focused on the 90s, his sense of history is such that there's no real schadenfreude when the dot com crash arrives – permanent prosperity was never a realistic notion in his analysis.The book does not feel remotely dated, as the concentration of wealth upward continues to get even worse and we've already been through another cycle of boom and bust when the housing bubble of the mid-00s once again duped the 99% (not to color my impartial review with polemics).Certain passages could have been written last week, e.g.:The new tech millionaires are "...flooding into Bohemian neighborhoods like San Francisco's Mission District, chatting with the guys in the band...leaping on their trampolines, typing out a few last lines on their laptop before paragliding, riding their bicycles to work,...drinking beer in the office,...startling the board members with their streetwise remarks..."Or this, which I particularly liked..."...however little it did by way of legislation, the Republican Congress...was notable for its ferociously populist understanding of the GOP mission, powered by a gang of supposedly incorruptible "freshmen" who were determined to do nothing less than "shut it down" if they didn’t get their way."...because it was written about the Newt Gingrich-led Congress of 1994!

  • Jon
    2019-05-19 05:14

    I always wondered who reads the many how-to-get-rich books in the Business section at the library I work for. One person who has apparently read them all--or as many as he could stand without going insane--is Thomas Frank, whose analysis of feel-good business lit. is one of the high points of this left-oriented screed. Apparently those books have two different messages: for workers, shut up and take your lumps, for managers, here's how to screw over the workers. Frank's attack on capitalist excess has logical problems itself--for one thing, the consumers he wants government regulators to protect from corporate depredations may want their Big Macs and trash TV more than they want such protection. While Frank wants more government regulation, he admits the US government hasn't done much of anything to help workers since the New Deal (which he tends to idealize). How to get the kind of government he wants, what it should do, and who will regulate the regulators are issues he, perhaps understandably, leaves unresolved.

  • Liam
    2019-05-17 08:06

    One Market Under God (written 2001) is an analysis of business culture in the United States (and occasionally Britain), with respect to the overhaul of self-image in the post-reagan era. It criticizes a philosophically free-market language within the PR industry which has attempted cultural appropriation of populist, democratic language to soften the self-interested motives of the wall street elite.Yet more sinisterly, it explains how this enthusiasm for the wisdom of the "Market" successfully managed to suppress criticism of the existing financial structures, and to cast a death blow for already ailing organised labour.

  • The Capital Institute
    2019-04-22 05:09

    Frank argues in One Market Under God that the “new economy” that emerged in the 1990’s was not as successful and beneficial as the mainstream might think, and that market populism is a faulty theory, promoted by corporate and partisan interests. Frank pointed out the relationship between banking practices in the 90s with those in the 1930s, and showed the way the income disparity between the very rich and very poor has steadily increased.The New York Times, considers the book enlightening and important in the understanding of corporate culture and how it has changed in the last decades.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-26 06:00

    A very lengthy explanation of why unregulated markets were allowed to slowly erode American workers' compensation and security to enrich those who employed them and profited from speculation and ridiculous theories concocted to justify unrestrained greed. Not fun reading, but required anyway.

  • Robert
    2019-04-28 02:10

    Frank tells the story of how revolutionary imagery and ideas were co-opted by the advertising and financial businesses, and how free market ideology took over discourse about politics, education, high art, pop culture, labor rights, the environment, and pretty much everything else. The author can get a little hyperbolic at times, but this book goes a long way in answering questions like: "why do we talk about education as if it's a business?" "how is deregulation still taken seriously?" "why do we talk about government as if it's a business?" "why were the 90s so weird?" and "how did we get here?"Pairs well with such Negativland albums as, Dispepsi, The Perfect Cut, Escape from Noise, Guns, and Crosley Bendix: the Radio Reviews.

  • Josh
    2019-05-11 03:22

    First up - the book ends on page 358 with the next 40pp consisting of end notes and another 15pp as the index. 414 total, not 464.On to the writing.I find myself agreeing with a majority of Frank's arguments / points (enough that it would be filibuster-proof in the Senate), but I didn't care for the manner in which those arguments were made.Frank is incredibly wordy and verbose; this is made worse by the intentional denseness of his writing style. He relies on end notes quite heavily. This wouldn't be an issue if the end notes were solely citations, but there were more than a few that would go on for paragraphs at a time providing elaboration for points in the main text. If it's that important that your reader needs it - put it as a footnote OR in the actual text itself. This lead to a constant flipping back and forth and was unbelievably annoying.Chapter 8 was utterly useless. More than 2/3 of the way into the book, Frank decided that it was suddenly important to explore an entirely different side of academia (Cultural Studies) and go through its entire history (which, strangely, spends a lot of time going through its own history) solely to blast it for not studying business / market consumerism. All of his arguments stand alone without bringing in an additional boogeyman for us to be upset with in addition to business writers and the ubiquitous 'market'. After chapter 8, it was easy to check out and stop caring. While his argument on the importance of a free press is important, Chapter 9 reads more as a bitter, concentrated attack on Gannett / USAToday / Neuharth. I agree that Gannett / Neuharth are problems for journalism in the US, but I'm not sure that this was the best way to address issues with the increased consumerization of "the news". Chapter 10 is utterly forgettable other than to drive home the point that "experts" (in this case - Gilder) can have massive impacts on stock valuation and purchasing trends just based on their approval / disapproval of a certain company.This took me well over to read and I am not pleased with it. For that much time invested, I expected something far better. I see that "Pity the Billionaire" is a far slimmer tome - perhaps Frank improved his delivery as he matured as a writer - but, frankly, I don't know if I have the energy to try to plow through another of his treatises, especially when considering that I already agree with many of the points he's making. Preaching to the choir isn't appealing to me, especially when I prefer my non-fiction reading to expand my perceptions, knowledge, ideas and worldview - not pander to it.

  • Andrew Canfield
    2019-05-06 00:21

    Thomas Frank is a writer whose stuff I can enjoy in small doses. His columns are interesting, and his long form writing (as far as books go) is pretty good stuff as well.His bias shows through at some points, but he can do it without sound like too much of a bitter partisan. Even readers not fully on board with his views can at least be able to see where his starting point of view is.One Market Under God is the type of book you might see from a William Greider, critiquing the developments of capitalism over the last half-century or so. He definitely takes a jaundiced view of the 90s-000s type of economy, and asks questions about what direction the future is headed which the reader is then expected to use as a basis to ask their own inquiries.He doesn't write with quite the power of a Thomas Friedman, and his books remind more of sitting through a lecture at UT Arlington UTA than they do anything else. The prose is witty only rarely, although he does at least make an effort to achieve this. I did learn a good bit about the financial crisis from reading this, but it was a bit of a clunk read and could have been a little more focused in the hands of a more skilled writer.Andrew Canfield UT Arlington UTA Centenary College

  • C. Scott
    2019-04-30 05:14

    Kind of disappointing if I'm honest. This is the third book I've ready by Thomas Frank and I really like his work. What's the Matter with Kansas? and The Wrecking Crew were terrific and the essays he writes nowadays are also great. This was Frank's first book I believe, and it shows. I don't think he had really found his groove yet and you can still see a little bit of the post-doctoral academic in his writing style.The content of the book is solid, but it takes some endurance to get through it all. The Market Populism fad hasn't completely disappeared even today. There is a lot of solid criticism in this volume. Reading some of the things that were said in the business press during the 1990s can be laugh out loud funny after the dot-com crash and the 2008 financial crisis. Yet somehow, zombie-like, many of these ideas still shamble on. Worth reading if you have ever questioned whether free markets can really solve everything.

  • Danny
    2019-05-08 01:06

    I think I prefer Frank more as an essayist than a book-length writer, if this is any indication. I think he could have made his points (and they are mostly points I agree with) more effectively with half as many examples drawn from marginal seeming ad campaigns, remainder-table CEO hagiographies, and long forgotten business mag special editions. And 50% less snark. Yes, the old understanding of the cause of populism has been hijacked and turned on its ear- and the "new consensus" get pulled more right-ward every election cycle it seems. But, this reads more like a bitterly sarcastic admission of defeat and a complaint that the referee wasn't looking when the courts and the business lobby kept punching the labor unions below the belt. I just wish he had written more about the best way to counter-punch.

  • Josh Oberman
    2019-05-14 07:25

    There's something refreshing about Thomas Frank's overall approach that's hard to put my finger on...the sort of jargon-free-yet-intelligent-witty-and-to-the-point style that offers a sort of antidote to other writing by, let's call them generally, "people with PhDs". Still, this book becomes repetitive with it's satires and ancedotes from 90s management theory, advertisting, etc. Frank does a fine job of proving his central thesis--that the ideology of market populism rose wildly in the 90s and that it's bullshit--but given his penchant to witty lambasts and wink-of-the-eye satirical sarcasm, he misses out on the whole question of "where do we go from here?"

  • Josephus FromPlacitas
    2019-05-14 01:04

    A great piece from the halcyon days of The Baffler. I actually interviewed Frank when he was promoting this book and put it on the radio. I'll try to find my review I wrote for it when it came out and post it here. It's funny how his newer stuff --What's The Matter With Kansas,The Wrecking Crew, which you could more or less characterize as "more partisan" without meaning it as an insult -- has made him something of a star, while the earlier books, oriented more toward economic democracy, flew under the radar. Maybe more people think it's more fun to hate Republicans than hip-talking Internet CEOs. Personally, I take equal joy from both.

  • Adam Ross
    2019-04-27 02:00

    A really interesting book examining the way the market was treated in the decade of the 1990s. Frank uses wit and scholarship to show that everyone, left, right, and center, turned the market into an idol to be worshipped, and that corporate PR used the language of the 60s counterculture to reinforce the system of inequality already in place. Always captivating, he shows just how pervasive this idea has become.

  • Nona
    2019-05-23 03:10

    I am giving this book far more stars than it deserves because it's one of the only dissections of the cult of free market internet driven economics of the 1990's. That he endlessly repeats himself with the same vitreous tone that makes small (baffler) pieces wonderful.. in book form it's stomach churning. Like a 700 Club episode. First 60 pages and you've firmly grasped everything you need to know. Unfortunately you really do need to know.

  • Beth Barnett
    2019-05-13 00:11

    A very witty and enjoyable exposé of the marketing theories and economic mumbo-jumbo of business writing gurus. Frank critiques the idea of "market populism" and the libertarian mentality of market cheerleaders. He predicted, and explained the busted stock market bubble before it blew out. Frank explains how history shows this kind of market mania has happened before, and will happen again. Armed with Frank's entertaining book, you can see it coming all the better next time.

  • Ben Byrne
    2019-05-18 05:18

    Was decent but not actually the book I wanted to be reading, which is a critique of "market populism" rather than dissection of its rise to dominance. Some chapters were much more interesting than others... the management theory chapter, for example, was very predictable. But later chapters, such as the one touching on academia, were better.

  • Leet
    2019-05-18 05:23

    For someone that was mostly too young to process this aspect of development in our society's collective attitude about the economy, this was a great book to read. It explains so much about where we are today and how ingrained some attitudes seem to be without much explanation. My only complaint is the book was a bit longer than I felt it needed to be to accomplish what Frank set out to do here.

  • Doigt
    2019-04-24 02:28

    Oh, you're a clever one...having time to both play baseball for the White Sox AND to criticize the social attitudes of the roaring nineties. Wait a minute...was that Frank Thomas or Thomas Frank that goes by the moniker "the big hurt"?

  • GWC
    2019-05-01 04:14

    A silly tiring rant against market populism. Reading it was a waste of time; I learned very little except that Thomas Frank thinks himself very witty. His formula is to pair an inane quote with shrill mockery and then repeat. This loses its edge after a chapter or two.

  • Bob
    2019-05-14 05:25

    It's a good book, and worth reading, but to be honest it gets a bit repetitious. Once you grasp Frank's main arguments about the perils of free markets you've got it in a nutshell and can stop reading.

  • Molly Brodak
    2019-05-20 07:15

    ALL of Thomas Frank's books are worth reading...look for him in Harper's occasionally too. Somehow he sees the big picture--the culture of commerce and what it means. Great stuff. Will make you angry, in a good way.

  • Ed
    2019-05-05 02:28

    In 2001 this was the "feel good" book of the year among Hyde Park hipsters.

  • Carl
    2019-05-20 06:26

    He made his point in the first 100 pages. The next 300 were extraneous. Loved his next book though. 5 Stars.

  • Alex
    2019-05-16 05:23

    One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy by Thomas Frank (2000)

  • Jeff Bush
    2019-05-02 04:14

    A brilliant analysis of the extreme dogmatism in market capitalism. Frank should release an undated version of this book. It's needed now more than ever.

  • Leonard Pierce
    2019-05-19 03:24

    In this book, Frank is as clear-eyed as ever about the repackaging of free-market capitalism as the last wave of populism. Not a feel-good read, but an important one.

  • Samira karami
    2019-05-18 05:23

    He made his point in the first 100 pages. The next 300 were extraneous. Loved his next book though. 5 Stars.

  • Susan Steed
    2019-05-19 08:27

    I read most of this ages ago. I don't really recall it being life changing and it's a point lots of people are making.